Posted by Peter Roaf on Jun 16, 2020
Adopt A Village Laos, partially sponsored by Rotary Club of Ladner, has brought water filters to each of the families in each of the small, remote villages of the impoverished, Southeast Asia nation of Laos. The program has also delivered water dam and pipeline systems, electricity, school and health supplies to these villages. There are now over 45 villages with filtered water serving over 25,000 rural villagers. Adopt A Village Laos has achieved a positive impact on the lives of 4,000 people in the past year alone.
For the last 11 years, Rotarian Steve Rutledge, former co-owner of a mid sized computer company in Toronto, has ventured into Laos to serve the rural villagers with the most basic of needs for sustained life.  
Laos is an impoverished nation in Southeast Asia, still suffering from the impact of the Vietnam War. Many of the villages served by Adopt A Village are indicated on Google Earth images, and some villages are shown, among them schools erected under the program
A member of the Rotary Club of Whitby Sunrise, in Whitby, Ontario, Steve created the registered Canadian charity “Adopt A Village in Laos” in 2009 to allow him to expand this charitable work.
One filter is distributed to each family in a village visited, significantly increasing the health of children and their families using water from local sources. Each filter, inside the bottom section, lasts about 10 years.
Thanks to Steve’s determination and constant fundraising, this charity has constructed schools and many permanent water supply systems and banks of toilets. Primary, secondary and university students have also received sponsorship enabling many children to receive an education which has been able to change their lives.
For one village, a 3 km water pipeline is installed, bringing water to a reservoir to filter it through chambers of ever finer stones, before the water reaches the village, and, eventually, the water filters. Ladner Rotary co-sponsored with other Rotary clubs and District 5040 one of these water delivery systems
Returning home earlier this year, after more than four months in Laos, Steve reports that this year is a big one for fundraising. June through November is the normal rainy season, but this past year there has hardly been any rain. A normal field of rice will typically yield up to 180 bags of rice. During the drought in 2019 that average plunged to only three bags, of poorer quality.
Schools have been built or renovated for improved education of the children. Education supplies and personal care supplies are distributed to the children as well
On top of that, parts of the country were hit early this January with hoof and mouth disease, leading to the slaughter of many herds of cattle. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The outcome was no tourism which brought in some revenue to the poor country, and no food supplies.
Severe drought over the past year has devastated crops, hoof and mouth disease has wiped out herds of cattle and COVID-19 has wiped out tourism revenue. Steve Rutledge explains that the actual filter inside the canister purifies the water flowing from the tank to the tap. Each filter lasts about 10 years.